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Friday, August 12, 2022

In a world where people desire to be accepted in accordance with human nature, hazing has become practiced with more frequency, bringing about serious issues in universities and amongst students.

The 2011 case of Robert Champion, a drum major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) brought the issue of hazing to the forefront of the minds of various college students, their parents and universities. Champion, aged 26 at the time of the assault, was beaten in the back of a bus by fellow band members as a part of the marching band’s hazing ritual after a football game. On June 8, Champion’s roommate, Rikki Wills, was sentenced to one year of community control and five years of probation “in connection with hazing charges in Champion’s death.” 

Situations like these often arise in which the lives of students, most often, are in danger due to harsh and often brutal “rituals” that members of organizations or groups are expected to undergo in order to be accepted as a member. Commonly thought to be tied to Greek fraternities and sororities, hazing can occur in different types of groups that choose to be selective in its membership. Hazing itself is outlawed in the state of Florida and can be considered a third degree felony if there was committed a serious bodily injury or death, or a first degree misdemeanor if there was risk of substantial bodily injury or death (hazingprevention.org).

As HazingPrevention.org describes it, hazing is everyone’s responsibility, mainly because it can deeply affect the lives of human beings. Nearly every college/university, governing body, athletic association, fraternity/sorority, and workplace has an anti-hazing policy that may or may not be strictly enforced. However, it takes more than just policies to prevent abuse. What occurs frequently is people fear being called a “snitch” or they fear the repercussions of speaking out. On the other hand, if hazing is not alerted to someone that can provide assistance, the outcome can be much worse for the person experiencing the abuse of their peers.

Here a few steps outlining how to prevent hazing or how to get past it, taken from Cornell University :

  1. Recognize the existence of hazing.
  2. Interpret the practices as a problem.
  3. Believe that they have a responsibility to do something.
  4. Know what to do.
  5. Acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to act.
  6. Overcome fear of potential negative consequences. 
  7. Take action.
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